Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

2018 Player Outlooks: New England Patriots

Rex Burkhead

With rookie Sony Michel dealing with a knee issue, Rex Burkhead's fantasy stock will begin to heat up.

QB Tom Brady
(2017 QB Rank - No.7, 22.5 FPts/G)

The ageless wonder continues to play at an elite level entering his age 41 season, fighting back father time and helpless AFC defenders for another top-10 fantasy finish in 2017. Brady completed 66% of his passes for 4576 yards and 32 touchdowns, marking the sixth time in his last seven seasons of 16 games in which he reached at least 30 touchdowns.

As always is the case with a quarterback playing into his 40s, the wheels will eventually come off the rails, as even the future hall of famer will break down at some point. But the consistent level of production and the limited number of interceptions that Brady brings to the table makes him worth the risk.

From a skill position standpoint, the Patriots have more than enough firepower for Brady to finish once again as a top-10 quarterback, even with WR Julian Edelman missing the first four games of the season due to a failed PED test. Perhaps the biggest worry about Brady is the loss of his starting left tackle Nate Solder to free agency and the development of rookie tackle Isaiah Wynn as Brady’s blind side protection.

RB Sony Michel
(2017 RB Rank - N/A)

Bill Belichick and the New England front office went against their typical mold by using a first-round pick on rookie running back Sony Michel. As a team that rarely uses high draft capital on offensive skill position players, let alone running backs, the Patriots are high on the former Georgia Bulldog.

At 5’11”, 215 pounds, Michel has the size and ability to be an every-down back in the NFL, and his pass protection skills were arguably the best of any player in the draft. The problem is that Belichick likes to use a stable of running backs, and Michel struggled with fumbles while in college. Michel also a had procedure to drain fluid from his knee on August 4th which could keep him out of pre-season action. Not the best situation for a rookie. Despite these issues, any RB who receives a sizable share of the New England ground game carries significant fantasy value, as the Patriots scored the second-most points in the NFL last season behind the Saints.

RB James White
(2017 RB Rank - No.68, 5.6 FPts/G)

The oft-forgotten man in the New England stable of running backs, James White led all Patriot ball carriers in targets (72) and receptions (56), while finishing fourth on the team in catches behind Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, and Danny Amendola.

Although the Patriots used a first-round pick on rookie Sony Michel, a talented college RB who can also catch passes, White projects once again to be the third down and pass-catching back for Tom Brady in 2018. White’s value is significantly higher in PPR formats compared to standard leagues, as the former Wisconsin Badger has yet to carry the ball more than nine times in an NFL regular season game.

RB Rex Burkhead
(2017 RB Rank - No.18, 10.0 FPts/G)

In quiet fashion, Burkhead posted a solid 2017 season as the No.18 ranked running back in terms of fantasy points per game. His 10 fantasy point per game was higher than Christian McCaffrey, Tevin Coleman, and Lamar Miller, and he scored the same number of total touchdowns as LeSean McCoy - on 252 fewer touches.

The addition of first-round selection Sony Michel will no doubt cut into the value of Burkhead in 2018, as one would assume that Belichick and the New England front office will look to feature their new prized running back. Despite this fact, Burkhead will continue to have value as the primary goal-line back and could be a steal if Michel continues his trend of fumbling issues dating back to his time at Georgia or has trouble recovering from his knee procedure.

WR Julian Edelman
(2017 WR Rank - N/A)

A torn right ACL in the third preseason game cost Edelman the entire 2017 season. The 32-year-old slot receiver worked his way back over the offseason and appeared primed to regain his place as Tom Brady’s favorite WR target before news broke of a four-game suspension for PED use.

When active, Edelman has been a volume beast in the Patriot passing game, with over 150 targets in two of his last four seasons. Assuming he is back to full speed and will not be in Belichick’s doghouse for missing time, Edelman will likely slide back into the slot receiver role and the 8 to 10 targets that come along with that position.

The four-game suspension will chase away risk-adverse owners who are not comfortable using an eighth-round pick on a player who will miss a quarter of the season. But for those willing to take the hit, adding Edelman as a reserve or Flex WR, especially in PPR formats, could be a league-winning move.

WR Chris Hogan
(2017 WR Rank - No.24, 8.4 FPts/G)

An A/C joint sprain forced Hogan to play in only nine games in the 2017 regular season. In those nine games, Hogan was a valuable fantasy asset, catching 34 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns. From weeks two through five, Hogan delivered four consecutive double-digit performances, including a two-touchdown game against Houston Week 3.

Injuries are always a concern for Hogan, a six-year veteran who has yet to play a full 16-game season as a member of the Patriots. It should also be noted that although Hogan was a stud for the first quarter of 2017, he has never caught more than 41 passes or five touchdowns in a season.

The departure of Brandin Cooks to Los Angeles and the four-game suspension of Julian Edelman opens the door for Hogan to once again be a difference-making WR in the first quarter of the season. The question will be how long can Hogan last before succumbing to another injury, and will this finally be the season in which Tom Brady comes down to Earth.

TE Rob Gronkowski
(2017 TE Rank - No. 1, 12.0 FPts/G)

Gronkowski is the definition of a league-winning player when healthy and arguably the most dominant player to ever play the tight end position. With five seasons of double-digit touchdowns, including a career-high 17 in 2011, Gronk delivers elite wide receiver numbers at a shallow position filled with few competitors.

At just 29 years of age, Gronk presumably has multiple years left as an elite tight end as he continues to build his resume for Canton. But injuries continue to plague the former Arizona Wildcat star who managed to play in just 21 combined games over the past two seasons.

A conventional narrative in the fantasy industry is owners should try to be one of the first to draft a tight end or one of the last, with the pool of players in the middle of the group indiscernible from their peers. As the consensus top-ranked tight end, Gronk possesses a unique ability to win a week on his own and a player who is worth the risk as a second round pick. But owners who draft Gronkowski should have a viable replacement for the weeks in which the outspoken TE is out with an injury.

Draft Buddy - Fantasy Football excel draft spreadsheet